by: Kimiko Hahn, Distinguished Professor & Assistant Director, MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation
Event: National Poetry Month in the Archives: The Chapbook Collection And the Launch of Award-Winning Chapbook Lest We All Get Clipped by Joseph Gross
Date & Time: April 24, 2023, 7pm
Location: Rosenthal Library’s Tannenbaum Room 300i
QC MFA alum Joseph Gross will read from his debut poetry chapbook Lest We All Get Clipped. In this collection, he explores our innate divinity through both ecclesiastical and (extra)ordinary experiences. The poems wrestle with faith, expression, and urban life “because / in the city / there’s not much / distance between / ravage & ravish.” After the reading, fellow alum and publisher Peter Vanderberg will speak about how and why he started this press.
The Birdhouse Chapbook Prize is awarded to an alum from the MFA program and published by Ghostbird Press. Founder Peter Vanderberg, a poet and educator, was inspired by CUNY’s Chapbook festivals ten years ago and has been publishing for nearly as long. He recognized the importance of the chapbook as a format that often publishes a writer’s first collection, often presents theme-based work as well as texts that may be offbeat and/or experimental. Ghostbird publishes all genres and includes art alongside the texts. Their lineup includes early work by writers such as Rajiv Mohabir as well as an unusual hybrid collection by former New York State poet laureate Alicia Ostriker. Last year, Vanderberg generously donated all of the Ghostbird chapbooks to the QC Chapbook Archive and many will be on display.
The Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation is a unique program that was founded nearly twenty years ago by professors in the English Dept. Students work closely with award-winning full-time faculty writers and benefit from taking classes that include cross-genre work. In such a way, the students get to know classmates outside their genre of focus and become adept in commenting on texts outside their genre of focus–whether poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or translation. And, speaking of literary translation, the QC MFA is one of two programs in the country that has a dedicated MFA track. Whether a student is from the United State or from another country, they feel at home in Queens, the most linguistically diverse place on the planet. Multivocal and multigenre and multifaceted are characteristic of this graduate creative writing program. The Birdhouse Chapbook reading is always a marvelous window into the community of alum, students, and professors.
This reading coincides with poet and QC professor Kimiko Hahn’s craft class “A Chapbook for Every Genre.” She will introduce the event.
Please join us in celebrating the launch of Ghostbird’s latest chapbook, Joseph Gross’ Lest We All Get Clipped.